Preliminary data shows that there has been a 9 percent increase in on-duty officer deaths in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2012, but officials with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund are still confident that deaths will remain low.
"Though our ultimate goal is zero deaths, it is encouraging to see preliminary data in line with 2012, which had the lowest number of officer deaths in 52 years," NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd said in a statement. "We are changing the way people think about law enforcement safety. No longer should any officer’s death or injury be accepted as "just part of the job.' "
Traffic-related fatalities were the leading cause of officer deaths, accounting for18 of the 51 officers killed in the first half of 2013.
Firearms-related fatalities were the second leading cause of death, dropping 11 percent with 17 fatalities compared to 19 in the same period last year. Seven officers were killed in ambush attacks, which was the leading circumstance of fatal shootings.
There was a 60 percent increase in other causes of officer fatalities unrelated to firearms or traffic. Job-related illnesses -- including heart attacks -- increased from only two deaths last year to 10 deaths in the first half of 2013.
Forty-seven of the fallen officers were male while four were female. Their average age was 42 years, with 14 years of service.
California led all states with seven officer fatalities; followed by Arkansas with six; Louisiana and Texas with three each; and Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, New York and Virginia with two each.